Online shopping requires less time and advance functionalities make this virtual shopping more easy and trustworthy. So customers rely more on this platform of shopping rather than going physically to the shopping mall. This situation is now inspiring entrepreneurs to join in online retailing.
Online retailing or business requires an ecommerce platform. An ecommerce platform is a virtual place where the sellers open their business or store to sell their products and goods to the customers. There are lots of ecommerce platforms who restlessly providing technological helps to the vendors to sell their products to the customers. And choosing the best ecommerce platform for your startup is as much as hard to switch to another platform from the existing one.
If you want to open an online shop or business you need to choose a platform first and this is the fundamentally important in online business. Likewise the brick and mortar (physical) shop, online shops and stores need to be designed, organized, and managed for better functionality and profit. Ecommerce platforms provides features and tools to organize, customize, operate your online shops, offer various technological and social help to extend your business and to maintain business relations with your customers. For example, Shopify the leading ecommerce platform offers high end features like easy cart, shipping, secured payment gateway, extensions and themes to customize your shops and technological helps to boost up your business.
Opening an online business requires some steps which are so important and following steps are for you to keep in mind before opening an online store.
Things to keep in mind before opening a store/business
Determining your stock size before browsing for any ecommerce platform is important because your future costs, profit, management fees all depend on it. Make sure you are not paying extra money and its logical to start with small business at the beginning so you can estimate your budget to extend your business in future. Size and scale of your business depends on some other factors, such as-
This is the fundamental criteria of opening a new business, what type of product you want to sell through your business. Determine the type of product, whether your product is digital or physical. Digital products are softwares, apps, eBooks, digital or online service while physical products are clothes, foods, ornaments and other tangible products. It is important to decide which type of products you want to sell because both types of products requires different types of management like shipping, payment, backup tools etc. Here some important questions to ask yourself about what type of product you want to sell.
The next step is to choose hosting for your online shops. If you are confident to operate and manage your business by yourself, than choose a platform from those who offer self-hosting or otherwise there are lot of cloud based platforms offering you easy and less complex set ups and built in high end functions.
It is not necessary to be tech nerd or specialist to open an online business. If you have less tech knowledge don’t worry, there are lots of other ways like hiring developers. Again some leading platforms offers tech helps and training free of costs or by some extra fees.
Easy and secured payment method and plan helps to make more profit so you have to adopt the most used and easy payment method like PayPal express, string or other well-known companies.
One of the crucial things to run a profitable online shop is the customer care provided by the seller. You have to maintain a healthy relation with your customers giving them the best care like easy contract, answering their questions or details about your product. So set your mind and train yourself to provide the best care to your future customers.
Criteria of choosing the best suitable platform
How should I choose the best ecommerce platform for my online business? What are the criteria to choose the perfect platform? Or what is the best platform for me? These are actually most asked questions shop owners or interested online business owners ask. Choosing a suitable platform is really hard for the beginners and for those who want re-platform for their existing business. Here I have mentioned some factors to decide when choosing a platform for your online business or shop.
Before choosing an ecommerce platform, do compare the features that are promised to provide by the platforms. The platforms offer different types of features; some platforms have built-in high-end features and some demand additional fees for features. For example Shopify offers most advanced and high-end features like Shopify plus, POS, easy payments, shipping and easy cart system and huge collections of themes where other platforms offer basic functions.
Determining the pricing point of the platform is another important task for opening your shop in your desire platform. Pricing is also depends on features provided by the platforms. Self-hosted platforms may requires less pricing then hosted platforms, but you would need to pay extra dollars to hire developer or experts for maintaining other services related to running your store. So compare the pricing according to the services and features provided by the platform than decide which one will be perfect for your startup or re-platform for your business.
Open source platforms tend to be loaded slowly than the hosted platforms because these free platforms are generally occupied by the sellers and they have less speed than the cloud-based platforms. Slow loading may cause customer unsatisfied with your products and can lose potential customers.
We have discussed before that deciding the types of hosting is important in making plans to open an online shop or business. So if you have already decide which type of hosting you want to adopt, like self-hosting or cloud based host than categorized the primary selected platforms according their hosting type. If you want to choose open source platform, than choose a platform from the open source list which have the ability to fulfill your demands and criteria. I personally recommend cloud based platform if your business is small or medium scale and want to grow it quickly and efficiently.
Another criterion of choosing the best ecommerce platform for your business is the extensions, theme and attributes options that your desired platform offers. Many platforms offers minimum themes and apps and other functions which may be slowed your shop’s growth and functionalities. Choose the platform which offers great extensions and themes within your budget.
Select an easy payment gateway by which your customers can pay the price of your products easily. Most of the platforms have third party payment process but it is good to avoid such payment process. Add PayPal, strip or other specific payment gateways.
Find the platform which gives you the best security for your store. Platforms offer various types of schemes like “SSL certificates” or “PCI Compliance” to secure your store’s data and information. Some prominent platforms also offer additional security packages. These options may not be important to you currently but with the growth of your shop you will need these additional security options and software or apps in future. So choose the platform which has compact and suitable security options for your shops.
Always keep it in mind that whatever decision you are taking based on present situation, you may regret or be benefitted in future to take such options. Similarly choosing the best option of ecommerce platform for your business or shop, you should determine the future of your shop in addition to the present options. With the growth and popularity of your shop you will need more advance options to enhance sell and to satisfy your customers. If your chosen platform cannot fulfill the needs, you will find yourself to look for another platform. So try to choose a platform which allows scaling up your business without any difficulty.
Look carefully if the platform requires additional fees along with actual fees, like some platforms also charges setup fees, processing fees, fees for additional services and tools, fees for themes, apps and for other options.
Various platforms provide the shop owners free or paid trainings, legal and tech helps with blogs, visual presentation, video and images. Some platforms offer skilled developers for customization of your shop. Check carefully which platform provides these helps and technical assistantship.
We have listed some best and suitable ecommerce platform in according to their features, pricing, advance technology, hosting type, provided opportunities and other options. We recommend Shopify as the best and suitable ecommerce platform for all types of business especially for the beginners. Shopify is a cloud based ecommerce platform offers a huge collections of apps and themes, extensions, SEO, POS and Shopify Plus enterprise for customizing and designing your shop hosted by Shopify. Shopify offers various pricing package starts from $29 per month for unlimited products.